Animals take over the International Centre


Pets of all shapes and sizes, such as kangaroos and boa constrictors, were at the 2016 Spring Canadian Pet Expo at the International Centre in Mississauga.

The expo, which is the largest consumer pet show in Canada, took place on March 25-27.  The expo offers pet owners and pet enthusiasts a chance to broaden their knowledge and show off their pets.

“It’s a pet friendly family event that is promoting responsible pet ownership from a commercial and hobbyist level,” said Grant Crossman, owner and operator of the expo.

Responsibility was a common theme at the show with vendors and guest speeches dedicated to responsible animal ownership.

“Just to show people that caring for a pet is a lifetime commitment and a lot of times you essentially have to think outside the box and the diversity of the pet world,” Crossman said.

The expo offered something for everybody with dog agility shows, breeders, animal societies, and even exotic pets such as tarantulas.  Bruce Recluse, the owner of Arachnophiliacs, a specialty arachnid breeder, has been to the show before and is used to getting a mixed reaction.

“People are just completely baffled as to why anyone would own spiders, centipedes, or all these creepy bugs,” he said.

Recluse also does his best to educate people and help them get rid of their fears.

“We see people who are afraid of spiders,” he said.  “Most of the time we can convince them to actually try holding one, most of those times they walk away feeling a lot less scared.”

On the other side of the expo in the bird section, Denise Antler, Director of the Budgerigar and Foreign Bird Society strives to educate people about responsible bird ownership.

“I can provide some of the information that I know of already and if they can learn one little thing I’m happy,” she said.

Antler wants to teach people about the different type of birds so they don’t end up in the wrong hands or possibly up for adoption.

“Don’t just go out and get yourself a macaw,” she said.  “You get bitten, you’ll get broken bones.”

The expo also offered some non-animal vendors.  Andria Andros, owner of Uniquely Gifted, sees the expo as a unique opportunity for her melting bead business.

“Here we kind of stand out as something different as everybody else, its gone really well for us,” she said.

Police and OSPCA officers were on hand to make sure everything went smoothly and pets were being taken care of responsibly.

Derek Cullen, a volunteer with the Etobicoke Humane Society, was amazed by how all the animals were getting along.

“I see people are really enjoying showing off their pets, I think it’s a great venue for that,” he said.  “The staff around here are doing a great job of keeping the area clean, I’m pretty impressed.”

The next pet show is the 2016 Fall Canadian Pet Expo which will take place on September 10-11 at the International Centre.

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Dan is a second-year journalism student at Durham College, who enjoys writing about music, the environment, politics, and opinion pieces. He also hosts a show on Riot Radio and works as a volunteer technician. Dan loves spending time at his cottage and has a wide array of unusual pets, including reptiles and arachnids. In the future he hopes to work for a radio station while doing freelance photography.